You Have The Power To Shape The Future

Most successful people begin with two beliefs: the future can be better than the present, and I have the power to make it so.

This is a quote by David Brooks from the article The two beliefs of successful people.

I believe it. Most people, even well educated ones, don’t.

Recently, I included this quote in a short presentation I gave on how you can be impactful on a day to day basis. After I read the quote, I asked the people in the room what they thought. A few people didn’t agree with the quote. Why, I asked.

Here are some of the reasons they said:

  • Because we have no control over the future;
  • Because we don’t know what’s going to happen;
  • Because having confidence in oneself is overrated;
  • Because believing you can change the world is egotistical…

The main reasons were the first two. Right, I said. But, what you do have control over is you; your effort, perspective and attitude.

I understand some people live by the motto of “where the winds takes me”. Basically, you let yourself go and just go with whatever. I adopt this mindset when I’m being very adventurous, spontaneous, on vacation. But, for my whole life?

It’s easy to look around you and feel sorry for yourself because of where you were born. It’s easy to say, “well, this is where I’m born and it’s how my life is going to be”. It’s easy to say, “well I came from nothing thus I don’t have the same opportunities”.

It’s easy to make excuses. Don’t be that person.

Whether it’s starting a business, becoming a surgeon, an architect or any other venture people decide to undertake, nobody begins with the belief that they’re gonna fail. If you do, then what can I tell you!

Successful people start with the belief that they’ll be successful; not unsuccessful. Though there are many differences between successful and unsuccessful people, as it pertains to the topic of this post, there is one specific trait that separates one from the other: locus of control.

Successful people have a high locus of control. That is, they believe their behavior influences life events. Sure, you don’t know what the future holds but you have control over your perception, your effort, your attitude, your committment. For example, athletes, whether in an individual or team sport, don’t know how the score will end. But they show with the belief that they’ll win because of their training, preparation, effort and attitude.

“Unsuccessful people make decisions based on their current situation. Successful people make decisions based on where they want to be.”

And this, to me, is the beauty of life: You don’t know what the end looks like most of the time, but you can influence it.

Bottom line: You don’t control other people. You control you. Own your mindset. Own your actions. Own the way you show up. Set the standard and make things happen.